Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I just realized an interesting connection between my two favorites, Norah Jones and Adele. Other than their wonderful jazzy-bluesy throwback approach to music, that is.

They each had one big year of domination at the Grammys, and both have incredibly successful albums to their credit; in particular Norah's “Come Fly with Me,” and Adele's “21.”

We know Adele is far and away the hottest thing of the current decade, but could that also be said about Norah Jones in the 2000s?
—Bonnie Mills, Seattle

DEAR BONNIE: Yes it could, and should, be said. So let's say it together.

Norah's sensational night came at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards (February 2003), honoring music issued in 2002. By the time they brought down the curtain, Jones owned Grammys in five key categories:

1. Best New Artist
2. Record of the Year: “Don't Know Why”
3. Best Female Pop Vocal Performance: “Don't Know Why”
4. Album of the Year: “Come Away with Me”
5. Best Pop Vocal Album: “Come Away with Me”

In the next few years, Norah ran her Grammy total to nine, with four more wins:

6. Record of the Year (for 2004): “Here We Go Again” (duet with Ray Charles)

For some industry observers, choosing “Here We Go Again” for Record of the Year was mind-boggling, strictly because, as a single release it didn't even make the nation's top 100 list.

Yes, it is the most-played track on the hugely successful “Genius Loves Company” album, but the Record of the Year is, with only one other exception, traditionally among a year's most popular singles. U2's “Walk On” (2001) is the other non-hit Record of the Year.

7. Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals (for 2004): “Here We Go Again” (duet with Ray Charles)
Now this is a more appropriate category, where sales of a single are inconsequential.

8. Best Female Pop Vocal Performance (for 2004): “Sunrise”
9. Album of the Year (for 2007): “River - The Joni Letters”

This jazz collection is actually Herbie Hancock's tribute to Joni Mitchell. Norah may sing only the lead track, “Court and Spark,” but still shares in the Grammy gold.

Did you know “River - The Joni Letters” is one of only two jazz recordings to win Album of the Year?

This first happened 47 years earlier, with the sensational “Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto (Featuring Antonio Carlos Jobim).” Highlighting this superb collection is “The Girl from Ipanema,” itself a Grammy winner as Record of the Year for 1964.

Geethali Norah Jones Shankar was born March 30, 1979, the daughter of classical sitarist Ravi Shankar and Susan Jones, a concert producer with whom shared a home at the time.

When she turned 16, Geethali legally reduced her name to the more user-friendly Norah Jones.

IZ ZAT SO? The all-time No. 1 album by a female is Shania Twain's “Come On Over” (1997), now with worldwide sales in excess of 40 million units.

“Come On Over” is also the top-selling album by any Canadian artist, as well as any so-called country music album, regardless of the performer's gender.

Thanks to some technical wizardry, all but one of its 16 songs came out not only with the original country sound, but remixed to appeal to “pop and international” buyers.

The only track that remained the same on the international version is “Rock This Country.”

Other edits, remixes, and even bonus tunes were added to some repackaged discs, motivating Twain's fans to buy several editions of this blockbuster.

Oh yes, Shania co-wrote, with her producer, Robert John Lange, all of the “Come On Over” music.

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